Three men convicted in a thwarted plot to bomb a Bronx synagogue were sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Judge Colleen McMahon of U.S. District Court in Manhattan imposed the minimum sentence under law against James Cromitie, 45, Onta Williams, 35 and David Williams, 30, all of which were found guilty by a jury in October in a case that revolved around the persistence of Shahed Hussain, a government informant, who organized the plot posing as a member of the Pakistani terror group Laiksh-e-Mohammad.
“What you attempted to do was beyond despicable,” Judge McMahon said before delivering a verbal lashing to the trio.
“You were thugs for hire, pure and simple. I am nonetheless convinced a sentence of 25 years, a quarter of century behind bars, is sufficient to punish you for what happened and what didn’t happen.”
The fourth defendant, Laguerre Payen, had his sentencing postponed pending a psychiatric evaluation, according to court documents.
All four were accused of planning to bomb the Riverdale Temple in the Bronx as well as the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center, in May 2009. They also attempted to purchase heat-seeking missiles to fire at transport planes at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, NY, prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Prosecutors had pushed for life sentences for the defendants which McMahon rejected.
Defense lawyers argued that the men were victims of entrapment and vowed to appeal the convictions.